Ray Martinez, President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will appear on Capitol Hill on Halloween to endure a battery of questions from senators on the Commerce panel. Martinez, chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, will get mostly friendly inquiries from the Republicans who already are on record praising his nomination.
Democrats are likelier to press Martinez on his political pedigree after his stints in Republican administrations, as well as his freight transportation bona fides. Martinez’s background doesn’t really scream trucking. To be fair, neither did his predecessor’s.
Expect New Jersey’s Cory Booker to press the fellow New Jerseyan on the recent update to hours-of-service policy for truckers, as well as policy on sleep apnea. Booker and his colleagues across the Hudson River are out with legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to test rail operators, and truck and bus drivers for obstructive sleep apnea. FMCSA and the Federal Railroad Administration recently withdrew a joint proposal that sought comments on the whether to adopt standards to diagnose and treat sleep apnea among those transportation workers.
“Addressing the dangers of fatigue among commercial truck drivers, including fighting for improvements to the hours-of-service rules and expanding testing for sleep apnea, has long been a priority of mine,” Booker told Transport Topics on Oct. 26. It’s worth remembering that Booker opposed a high-profile transportation nominee over transit matters.
And, based on his responses to a questionnaire required by the committee, little is known about Martinez’s views on hours of service and sleep apnea.
THE WEEK AHEAD (all times EDT):
Oct. 31, 9:30 a.m.: The Brookings Institution holds a discussion on “Greater Than Ever: New York’s Big Comeback,” with a focus on urban innovation and economic development.
Oct. 31, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets to hear from Ray Martinez, nominee to become administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Oct. 31, 10 a.m.: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hosts a hearing on “2017 Hurricane Season: Oversight of the Federal Response.” Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, testifies.
Nov. 2, 7:45 a.m.: The Ripon Society holds a discussion on “The Future of Puerto Rico,” with Republican Reps. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, and Tom MacArthur of New Jersey.
Nov. 2, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hosts a hearing on “Emergency Response and Recovery: Central Takeaways from the Unprecedented 2017 Hurricane Season.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
FMCSA HOS: Drivers switching jobs around the time the federally mandated electronic logging device rule takes effect need to report their previous seven days of service to their new employer, just as they would have when paper logbooks were the norm, government officials said.
DRIVER SHORTAGE: Trucking and government leaders at American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition set their sights on solving perhaps the industry’s most persistent challenge — recruiting and retaining professional drivers.
TROMBINO: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted on Oct. 25 to approve the nomination of Paul Trombino, Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Highway Administration.
Traffic congestion in Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan continues to complicate efforts to restore power in that metropolitan area, sources tell us.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Politico’s profile of former Speaker John Boehner (R), which includes this gem, “Boehner’s 25 years in Washington saw the dissolution of a party, the vandalizing of a government and the splintering of a nation.”
We certainly agree on infrastructure; if we could figure out a way to bring some of that money that’s parked overseas back to build roads and bridges and most importantly high-speed rural broadband in my state.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), on NBC’s Meet The Press on Oct. 29
The driver shortage examined.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) has fun with letters.
Hmm, "devilishly handsome" is too many letters... pic.twitter.com/nudMAGFJiv— Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) October 26, 2017